Posted on: Feb 6, 2008 06:43PM - edited Jul 23, 2019 01:50PM by Moderators
OK, I admit it, I am a compulsive planner. I have had some great suggestions and tips not only regarding what to bring to the hospital, but also on how to prepare the house to make the recovery as easy as possible.
I am travelling for surgery so, for me, "packing" includes the first 10 days of post-op care.
I thought I would start a list (in no particular order) that might serve as a reference... PLEASE add your suggestions!!! Anything at all you either found helpful OR wish you'd considered before your surgery.
I am a bit of a MacGyver type and love creative uses for things like the lanyards and fanny packs for drains. I was wondering if a light/loose fly fishing vesy might be handy both for drains and for holding my phone, mp3 player, etc so I didn't have to reach so much... I am SUCH a geek.
Anyway, over-organizing seems to be keeping me occupied as my bi-latteral approaches. I know everything won't be a hit with everyone, but it gives us some things to think about.
******NOTE: MODS TOOK ORIGINAL LIST FROM Panchoandlefty AND COMBINED WITH OTHER MEMBER SUGGESTIONS UP THROUGH END OF MARCH 2015*********** We are happy to keep adding, and please let us know if we missed anything !
Combined list from what others have said in this topic !
Community member tips for Surgery
Tips for the hospital:
Hand sanitizer, antiviral Kleenex, Anti-bacterial adult wipes (in a pretty dispenser), adult "baby wipes" to give yourself sponge baths.
'skin prep wipes'. These help prep the skin for tape and other adhesives
Roll on or Spray Deodorant, NOT a solid stick.
Lozenges or hard candy of your choice.
A lip balm of choice
Face and hand moisturizer
A stool softener, dried prunes, bran cereal and "smooth move" tea, laxatives.
Clipboard, notebook and pen (for documenting when you had pain meds and drain amounts)
Zip up track suits or button up pajamas and shirts.
Slippers, cotton front snap bras
Silky bottoms/PJs to make getting in/out of bed easier
Zip up hoodies/ warm ups, soft flannel shirt is just right for after surgery.
Camisoles/tanks which can be stepped into (as opposed to pulling over-head)
Jog Bras (Natori is recommended) or whatever support is suggested by your surgeon
Pull on, easy pants or shorts, or shirt
iPod, Mp3 / Music player
Cell phone/ have friends' numbers handy!
Hair tie if your hair is long.
Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding drains
Fanny pack for drains
Nurses can make a necklace from IV tubing to hold drains in shower
Luck trinkets or photos from friends and/or family.
A good eye mask and ear plugs in the hospital.
Take clothes to hospital that can be washed/sanitized at home
If you are going to sleep in bed and not a recliner at home, ask the nursing staff to show you the proper way to get in and out of bed with the least strain on your back and upper body.
If you feel you may not be up for visitors at the hospital, just let the nurses and staff know that you prefer no visitors except DH or immediate family. I knew that I was having a rough time emotionally as it was beforehand. I didn't want to put on a happy face for a friend, cousin or whomever wanted to stop by. I know the visitors mean well, but for me I just wanted peace & quiet.
Tips for the ride home:
Have a pillow and lap blanket for the car-ride home.
Fill scripts before coming home so you won't have to stop on the way
What to organize at home:
Consider getting something like the The Shower Shirt, a patented, post-surgical, water resistant garment designed to protect chest surgery patients, including mastectomy, while showering. Use code BCO for 20% off www.theshowershirt.com
Get a manicure and pedicure before your surgery, and a hair cut.
Before surgery, practice washing your hair, with or without help, with your elbows not moved away from your chest---either over the kitchen sink, using the spray or if your doc will allow, in the shower.
Or, arrange with your hair dresser to do your hair after you get home and cannot stand it any longer -- get someone to drive you.
Move commonly used items, kitchen tools, etc to low shelves before surgery
Find NON child-proof caps for meds.
Arrange all post surgery robes, pj's, button down shirts and hoodies on a rack in one easy to reach place so you can dress myself easily the first couple of weeks without rummaging through my closet.
Paper cups and light weight coffee cups for at home
Extra sheets to keep in rotation
Lots of pillows or a wedge or two!
A travel neck pillow - 'C' shaped - for keeping neck from getting a crick after sleeping in a recliner.
Tiny travel buckwheat pillows, or other small pillows.
Put an egg crate mattress on top of mattress and use a long body pillow.
Medical gloves (latex free or powder free)
Small kitchen garbage bags for dressing disposals
A little plastic waste can for at home
Find NON child-proof caps for meds
Lanyard (like for ID cards) for holding drains, Fanny pack for drains, or a camisole, or nurses can make a necklace from IV tubing to hold drains in shower. An old neck tie to use as a lanyard to hang my drains on while I shower. Works like a charm
A shower chair and a hand held shower nozzle. 3M Nexcare tagaderm transparent bandage over the port where it exited my skin when I showered. Also, have a lanyard to use for your drains in the shower. I just clip the safety pins on the lanyard clip for while I shower. It seems a little heavy on my neck while I shower, but I take it off right after I shower.
Get a humidifier for home if your air is dry.
Grabbers! These are about 23 inches long, have a handle that you sqeeze, and the end clamps on stuff on the floor. GREAT for pulling up your pants when you can't bend over, or picking up stuff that you drop, (like the toilet paper, etc!) I needed two of these, as I dropped the grabber! Great for pulling the wash basket along, too!
Make sure to get safety pins, makes it easier to pin your drain tube to your pjs.
Size 1 baby diapers, sanitary napkins or nursing pads for open breast incisions.
A small step stool has been a great tool to help me get in and out of bed
Make sure there's food premade that you don't need to fuss with (sandwiches/salads in individual servings), and also keep those drinks handy.
Cook some of my favorite foods and even ordered a couple takeouts from my fav restaurants to be on hand when I got hungry.
Purchase smaller sizes of soda/juice/milk.
Stock up on heavy items (laundry soap, dry dog food, bottled water, sodas) for 2-3 months! Remember to fill up smaller containers that are easier to pick up.
Put your shampoo, conditioner, and body soap in trial size bottles so they are easier to manage and lighter.
Stock up on stuff near bed - tissues, water, magazines, lots of pillows of all sizes, medicine, remote control.
Recliner or hospital bed- can be ordered from medical supply companies.
Drain solving problem: Zip-up hoodies or robes with pockets, I cut a slit on the inside material and popped the drains in from the inside. No one even knows they are there. It looks a little bulky, but much better than the drains hanging on my neck from a lanyard.
If you have someone a the house helping you out, when you need them call from your cell phone to the house phone or vice versa. It was so much easier than trying to yell from upstairs.
Get Netflix or rent movies.
Have an insulated cup for drinking and book and lamp by the bed.
Have someone pour milk, juice, etc from big gallon jugs into smaller containers and leave on an easy-to-reach shelf.
If a can of something needed opening, have someone do it before they leave.
This thread started me thinking about what my husband/partner will need. So I am starting a basket of "surprises" for him. A friend is bringing it to the hospital to give to him after I am in surgery.
iTunes gift card - so he can dowload a book on tape, music, movie, whatever
roll of quarters - for the pop machine
deck of cards - surgery is supposed to be 8 - 10 hours. He can play cards with whoever shows up
remote control car -pure silliness but he will think it is fun!
box of Special K meal bars - at least he will have something semi-healthy to snack on
chapstick - hospital environments can be very drying
bottle of special single malt scotch - something he would never buy for himself, but will appreciate very much when he gets home
travel blanket - hospital can get cold
framed picture of the two of us
Posts 1051 - 1080 (1,114 total)
Aug 23, 2019 02:06PM - edited Sep 13, 2019 03:47PM by
I made this YouTube video on items I purchased for my double mastectomy surgery and recovery- https://youtu.be/vWWdvMMfbsQ
Aug 23, 2019 05:21PM MountainMia wrote:
Just a quick comment -- there is a really broad range in types and complexity of surgeries, and with it a really broad range of needs. If you're checking into this thread for the first time, don't freak out at the long list of things recommended to buy! Depending on your own circumstances, you will need a small portion of them. Same is true of the chemo recommended-to-buy lists. Not everyone needs everything. (I bought a bunch of stuff I never used, for both surgical and chemo needs, including hair loss items.)
Wishing all the best to everyone going through this. It's tough to navigate, stressful and tiring. Just keep going, one step at a time.
Aug 27, 2019 06:14AM RadQueen wrote:
Your list was great used most of it for my Surg on 8/19. the one thing I wish I would of packed is some Weathers lozengers. My throat was so dry and no amount of water helped. I needed something a little oily to sooth it and to get the phlegm moving.
Aug 27, 2019 07:44AM Moderators wrote:
Please know that we're here for you if you need help navigating the forums, or have a question you don't see posted already.
Again, welcome to the Community!
Aug 29, 2019 03:52PM PinkArmor wrote:
The best advice I can give is DO NOT rush your recovery. Rest, sleep, drink plenty of fluids and eat if you feel like or not. My surgery went fine but I made some terrible errors during recovery. I was pushing my self to get back to work with only 12 days off. I had both breast reduced, they remove 6 lbs from each side and the lumpectomy on the right was part of the reduction. My BS did the lumpectomy and the PS went in and finished up with reconstruction of the right and reduction on the left. Other people had told me they recovered in a week. What I didn't realize was their surgery was minor; just one incision. My surgery was major- I had an anchor cut done. Cut under the breast in the crease from between the breast to the side under my arms- both sides. Then a cut from the crease up the middle to the nipple and then an incision around the nipple b/c they did a nipple graft and reduced the nipple size. I thought I should recover in a week so I pushed. It was a huge mistake. I also didn't eat or drink properly and I didn't take the pain med like I should have. Because of this perfect storm I created I passed out while taking a shower and fell face first into the tile edge of our shower. I ended up with a lip that needed 7 stitches, a hair line fracture nose and a busted up knee. The worst though was that 3 days later I ended up with open wounds from the fall. I opened up an incision on the crease on the right and one on the left around the nipple. They were large and deep. That has delayed my radiation treatment. I am still dealing with the wounds 3.5 months later. All this happened because I was dehydrated, hadn't eaten well at all and had been trying to do things I shouldn't have been doing and my body rebelled against me.
So please take my advice and do not rush things. Someone else can do the housework, cook or whatever. Let people help and don't try to be a hero. Take the pain meds that's why they give them to you. Rest rest rest- sleep is a great healer. Eat well- protein is a big must. Your body needs protein to heal. They put me on Boost to up my protein because I haven't had an appetite since surgery. Just please learn from my mistakes because they have been costly.
Good Luck to all who are going to be having surgery.
Aug 29, 2019 06:39PM Aussie-Cat wrote:
PinkArmor, I'm sorry you went through all that and I wish you the best on your continued recovery. Hindsight is a great thing but not something we have in advance.
Oct 13, 2019 06:27PM - edited Oct 13, 2019 07:15PM by NoMoreKindaCCups
Wow, this thread is amazing! After reading I don't know how many pages, I had an Amazon moment where I ordered all kinds of expensive stuff (the Brobe, a mastectomy camisole, etc) but I'll be sending them back. First, I loved the cheap solution someone posted here and went out to Home Depot to grab a nail apron under $1.50! Second, my amazing new friend Alex from The Pink Lily Cancer online store is an expert at dealing with insurance companies - she's working to get gap exception coverage for stuff like drain-management camisoles and post-mastectomy bras that are not available from anyone who is actually in-network.She came out to my home and measured me for what I would need. Fingers crossed that she wins, then I get to have the good stuff that insurance really ought to cover!
Thanks to everyone here who has helped prepare me for my surgery later this week!
Oct 13, 2019 09:32PM Askmissa wrote:
Hre is a video I made on what I bought for my double mastectomy surgery - https://youtu.be/vWWdvMMfbsQ
Oct 14, 2019 09:09AM Aussie-Cat wrote:
NoMoreKindaCCups, I'm glad you've found this thread helpful. I hope your surgery goes well and your insurance covers everything you need.
Oct 14, 2019 07:02PM NoMoreKindaCCups wrote:
Thanks, Aussie-Cat - I still haven't heard about the gap exception, but still hopeful. I've been reading your posts for a while. I was lurking since the ultrasound doctor started patting my arm... that's when I first knew it was cancer just over a month ago. I'm glad to finally be getting to the other side of surgery.
Oct 15, 2019 02:37AM Aussie-Cat wrote:
NoMoreKindaCCups,I read a lot of posts here before my surgery too. It certainly is good to get the surgery over with. Let us know how it goes, if you feel up to it.
Oct 15, 2019 06:50PM NoMoreKindaCCups wrote:
Just sharing a little good news - between my BS, the BC nurse navigator, and Alex at The Pink Lily, they were able to convince Anthem BC/BS to cover my cami and post-sx bras with the gap exception! Bless them all!!
Oct 16, 2019 08:10PM StAuggie wrote:
I'm scheduled for a MBX with immediate reconstruction in two weeks, with tissue expanders placed. My instructions say I need front closure sports bras for 6-8 weeks. I think that I've read that that I should get them larger than my normal size due to swelling. Should I go up one size? Or two? Get one of each and see which fits best lol?!? I can always order more later, thanks to the speedy shipping options so many stores offer now. Please let me know what worked for you! I don't normally wear sports bras, so I'm clueless.
Oct 16, 2019 08:30PM MinusTwo wrote:
St Augie - I woke up in a surgical bra and got one more before I left the hospital. I wore nothing else for at least a week. BTW - Kotex pads and gradually Light Day Panty Liners work really well inside of the bras across the incisions instead of bandages. In addition I bought two front closure cotton bras from WalMart - Fruit of the Loom something like this... https://www.walmart.com/ip/Womens-Comfort-Front-Close-Sport-Bra-Style-96014/13997192
Definitely NOT something you have to pull over your head or stretch past your incisions. You probably won't be allowed to raise your arms above shoulder length for awhile. You will likely have some fill in your TEs, but they won't be fully expanded so it's hard to see why you'd want much bigger that what you're already wearing. But if you can try them on now, you'll be able to judge before you won't want to try them on.
Jan 22, 2020 06:33AM - edited Jan 24, 2020 12:10PM by LiveLoveLaugh2020
Haven't read through all the pages but just in case wanted to add: electric razor! A wax is a good idea as well. I waxed my underarms knowing I wouldn't be able to shave for a while and love my electric razor so much that I use it all the time now. Hope this helps.
Jan 30, 2020 03:07PM rljes wrote:
after chemo and I lost all my hair (everywhere) my underarm hair never came back. Lucky me!
Feb 10, 2020 10:17AM striveforhealth wrote:
rljes, Your underarm hair didn't grow back after chemo....I'm so glad there was a really great positive side effect to your chemo treatment. No more underarm shaving for you!! :-)
Feb 16, 2020 02:38PM - edited Feb 17, 2020 02:46PM by VeeHow
Feb 16, 2020 02:41PM - edited Feb 17, 2020 02:46PM by VeeHow
Mar 10, 2020 07:39PM MinusTwo wrote:
Bumping to the top for a new question
Apr 5, 2020 08:54PM MinusTwo wrote:
Bumping for Daze
Apr 28, 2020 12:37PM MinusTwo wrote:
bumping for Belle
May 14, 2020 02:47PM missallycat519 wrote:
I had a double mastectomy & reconstructive surgery back in march of this year after being diagnosed with stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma...from my understand of what I've read on this site is that it's very common to experience pain in the arm area of where lymph nodes are removed...which in my case, I did have a few removed from my dominant side which is my right & they were negative....but ever since surgery my arm pain seems to be getting worst or I'm just getting annoyed by the numbing tingling pain & tightening sensation I've been experiencing off & on ever since surgery. ..from my right shoulder all the way down to my wrist...over the counter pain meds don't help & it hurts to do arm stretching exercises but I try to do them & push through the pain....Any helpful tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 🙂
May 14, 2020 04:54PM MountainMia wrote:
missallycat, what you're feeling is probably very normal, if painful! I recommend talking with your doctor to get a referral for physical therapy. As far as the numbness, that might continue for a long time. I'm a year past surgery and the numb feeling is pretty minimal now, but there is still some sensation of it. But DO please talk to your doctor.
May 14, 2020 09:08PM MinusTwo wrote:
missally - have you talked to your doc about lymphadema? Unfortunately most docs don't know much, but it's real. You can research on this site below and there are lots of LE threads on BCO
May 29, 2020 12:41AM Lostchick wrote:
TRS Post Surgical Drain Bulb Carrier Pouch for Shower Plus Day/Night Apron Ostomy Mastectomy Supplies https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073MPWNBN/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_oej0EbRVFKCK4
I hope this shows up. I bought this for my bmx on 5/12. It was a lifesaver!! For 25 bucks, I never had to worry about pinning my drains or what I was going to do with them. The extra mesh apron worked great for the shower too! (I was thankfully allowed to shower with the drains). On a funny note, my kids said it looked like a waitress apron and kept jokingly asking me if I had a straw for their drink.
Jun 3, 2020 02:17PM MinusTwo wrote:
Tiffin - Assuming you mean bilateral mastectomy? (BMX) Sorry I didn't buy a wedge. I just had a lot of pillows that I propped on both sides of me so I couldn't turn by mistake.
Interesting I was always a side or stomach sleeper. 9 years down the road of course I don't sleep on my stomach, but I'm now comfortable sleeping on either side and often wake up sleeping on my back - which I never did before BC